Interview with FoundersBeta

This article was originally posted on FoundersBeta.com. Thank you to Eric Rafat for introducing us to the community. FoundersBeta is the leading hub for starting a startup. New founders can find co-founders and team members through FoundersBeta as well as access startup resources and courses.

Travelling to San Francisco to fundraise, recruit, or network can be a daunting task. However, it is unavoidable for many founders looking to build their companies. Finding a place to stay and connecting with the local startup ecosystem can be particularly challenging.

Maison Maple was founded by Justin Lee and his friends in Toronto and San Francisco. They believe that there needs to be a service that makes business travel to San Francisco more cost effective and convenient. Maison Maple provides Canadian entrepreneurs with luxury accommodations at a fraction of what it would cost for an Airbnb or hotel. In an interview with FoundersBeta, Justin shares the Maison Maple story and shares some tips for founders planning on travelling to San Francisco.

What is the inspiration behind Maison Maple?
Everything from the company’s name to the people it serves is Canadian. Maison Maple was created by Canadian founders to make business travel to San Francisco easier for other Canadian founders. Knowing that it is a challenge for founders to find a place to stay in the city, Maison Maple firstly focuses on providing founders with comfortable and affordable accommodations. The company also places great value on community building. It is a facilitator for networking and a resource for local founders looking to connect with founders abroad.

What are some of the challenges founders face when they fundraise in Silicon Valley?
The main issue for all founders travelling for business is cost. Accommodations in San Francisco can be hundreds of dollars per night. The prices charged by hotels and Airbnbs are only rising. Oftentimes, founders are needing to sacrifice quality and convenience for cost. The other issue that faces many founders is not having access to a network once they are on the ground. It can surely be intimidating for those that are new to the city and the fundraising process.

Do you have any tips for those headed to San Francisco?
To save on costs associated with accommodations, plan your trip ahead. If possible, months in advance so that you are not paying last minute premiums. If you will be travelling frequently, identify a neighbourhood and a place to stay that suits you. Pick somewhere that makes it easy for you to get around to meetings and events. Find places you like to eat and things you like to do because those things matter. Familiarize yourself with the city so that you always know where you are going and won’t be late!

As mentioned, finding and getting involved with a community can be a challenging, if not intimidating. A great place to start is leaning on communities that you are already a part of, like FoundersBeta. Do your research and reach out to those in the community that can introduce you to those also visiting or living in San Francisco. Those with large networks are usually willing to connect founders to their contacts. It is important to have a conversation about why an introduction is necessary. If possible, identify how you could add value to the person that you may be introduced to.

Where can founders travelling to San Francisco go to learn more?
Our website, maisonmaple.com is the best place to learn about the services we offer. Founders that are planning to be in San Francisco to fundraise, recruit, or network should read our blog and sign up for our newsletter to receive travel tips and learn about opportunities to be a part of our growing community. I encourage anyone that is headed to the Bay Area to email me directly at justin@maisonmaple.com. I am happy to help Canadian founders navigate San Francisco and connect them with those living and working in the city.

Justin Lee